SOE doctoral student receives Korea Society Fellowship

8/20/2012

Monica Eraqi stands at the DMZThey told her the dress code was for her own safety.

Taking a side trip to the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), School of Education doctoral student Monica Eraqi dressed in gear that would allow her to run for cover if necessary.

“It was an eye-opening experience,” she said, one she’ll use to strengthen the classroom experience at Macomb Township’s Dakota High School.

“I want my students to become more familiar with diverse backgrounds and cultures; to imagine themselves in the situation, think about the surroundings,” she said. “The students should be in the driver’s seat.”

Eraqi put herself in the driver’s seat when she applied for a 2012 Summer Fellowship in Korean Studies from the Korea Society. She was one of only 40 social studies teachers from across the U.S. selected for the program.

Eraqi, long interested in the inclusion of diverse backgrounds in American studies, saw the trip as an opportunity to broaden her horizons and bring that knowledge back to the classroom.

The educators immersed themselves in Korean culture, touring museums and historical sites, traveling throughout the country and learning from Korea’s leading scholars.

History, politics, economics, culture—no topic was off limits during the intensive study group sessions.

Back in Michigan, Eraqi will look for ways to incorporate what she learned in the classroom—she and her travel colleagues spent time in Korea developing curriculum. She will present to her school district and at a regional conference.

Eraqi teaches a lesson about Detroit and Michigan to students at Goyang Foreign Language High School. Eraqi teaches a lesson about Detroit and Michigan to students at Goyang Foreign Language High School.

Eraqi is excited to bring new curriculum into the classroom. But beyond the “book knowledge,” she hopes her desire to travel and learn sets a good example for her students.

“I think my traveling can encourage students to participate in the global society, to look beyond the borders,” she said. “There are a lot of cool things out there. The global community has so much to share with us.”

Korea marked the 30th country Eraqi has visited, with previous study tours including New Zealand, Spain and Turkey. She has no plans to slow down her travel and looks forward to her next trip abroad­—with or without a dress code.

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